October 6, 2015 Speaker: Chris Hall Series: What HE Said: A Guide for Living in the Kingdom of God
Topic: Default Passage: Matthew 5:1–5:3
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
In this "sermon on the mount”, Jesus is talking to His followers, laying the framework for living in His new Kingdom. It’s a Kingdom with a very different culture than that of our world. Matthew 5:1-11 explicitly offers us eight ways to live in God's Kingdom. It’s very practical, simple and yet will most likely take you a lifetime to really appreciate.
Today we’ll look at the three major word pictures in Verses 1-3.
Blessed ≠ Happiness
I know some translations say “Happy are the…” but our contemporary use of “happy” does NOT line up with the intent of the original language.
When you think about your blessings--things you thank God for, we think about our family, health, job, etc--essentially the things that make us happy.
All of them are good things, gifts from above that make us happy. But what happens if they went away? You wouldn’t be as happy but would you still be “blessed”?
We need to separate the two words a little:
To be happy is a feeling. Feelings are subjective and change with circumstances.
To be blessed is a truth. Truth is objective. When God sees certain attributes in your life (in this case, being “poor in spirit”) He names you “blessed”.
…whether you feel blessed or not.
That’s where we stumble because we often trust our feelings more than we trust God.
When we don’t like our circumstances or are unhappy we begin to believe lies about God instead of the truth.
Objective Truth: God IS... Our Feelings Tell Us God ISN'T...
GREAT, in control and powerful GREAT: So we worry and are angry
GLORIOUS and worthy of our devotion GLORIOUS so we seek the approval of others
GOOD and gives us what is best for us GOOD and is holding out on us
GRACIOUS and in Christ we’re forgiven GRACIOUS so we have to prove ourselves and try harder
Our suffering is real, our feelings are powerful and so often them tempt us to stop trusting the truth about God. And these feelings that are based on rebellion and sin have created a culture in this world where pain and death rule.
God’s Kingdom culture offers an alternative but to access it we need to recognize that Jesus declares us to be “Blessed” and it isn’t dependent upon our feelings but on truth.
So the key to accessing the Kingdom of God begins with a correct view of God and of yourself...
POOR IN SPIRIT
Often we read this phrase and think “sad”. We could easily come away from this verse thinking Jesus wants us to be like Eor, “Oh whoa is me…”
He doesn’t. Remember, “sad” is a feeling. We aren’t blessed for our feelings but for something else...
Jesus is telling us that having a correct view of God and of ourself is the beginning of living in His Kingdom.
A. You and Me.
The late John Stott uses the phrase “Spiritual Bankruptcy” to describe our spiritual state apart from Christ. Essentially, we have nothing to offer God but our sin. Once, by grace through faith, we recognize Jesus is who He says He is, He then imputes His righteousness to us.
So ANYTHING we have in our spiritual bank account comes from outside of ourselves—from God Himself. In short, we are sinners in need of a savior.
And what a great Savior we have! As bad as we are (and we’re bad), Christ is so much greater than our sin. Yes, we’re a mess but He is GREAT and GLORIOUS and GOOD and GRACIOUS!
Our God is sovereign over every aspect of life. He owns it all. He is so good and holy that we could never stand in judgement over Him.
Now compare that truth to the truth about us: Spiritually bankrupt.
Once we have a correct view of God and of ourselves we...
INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Our new Kingdom isn’t based on money or power or looks—it’s based on grace and accessed through faith. God’s Kingdom values mercy, justice and faithfulness.
For you that means your actual bank account might be empty. That's okay! God is not basing His blessing on your bank account.
That might sound bad to you if your bank account is full of money since we often associate money with God’s blessing. All we have to do is look at the church at Laodicea to know this isn’t true.
Where we live, in this city, it’s probably true that in this life you will probably never inherit the stuff we value in our Kingdom (money, power, looks, etc).
But in Christ we inherit everything He has, as “co-heirs”. In Christ we have dominion over creation, we gain eternal life and a seat at the table of God plus so much more!
These are things that this world will never understand—your flesh will fight you day and night to trust that God offers something better than this world.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
- We need to know both who God is and who we are in light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- That will help us to trust God in the face of our suffering because suffering causes our feelings to pull us away from God. So don’t trust your feelings but instead trust God.
- When this happens, God declares us to be “blessed” and we inherit His Kingdom—with His values.